March 12 coronavirus news

9 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:25 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

European officials say they were blindsided by Trump’s new travel restrictions

From CNN's Alex Marquardt, Kylie Atwood and Nicole Gaouette

US President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office about the widening Coronavirus crisis on March 11, in Washington, DC.
US President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office about the widening Coronavirus crisis on March 11, in Washington, DC. Doug Mills/New York Times/Pool/Getty Image

Europe appears to have been largely blindsided by President Trump’s announcement earlier today that the US was suspending travel from 26 European countries.

Several European ambassadors in Washington tell CNN they didn’t know this was coming, despite having been in contact with the administration over the past few days.

One ambassador in DC said there was “no indication” Trump would go to the lengths he did, while another spokesperson said German officials had no advanced warning this was coming.

“We knew something was coming on travel from Europe (more restrictive travel advice) but not this drastic," the Belgian ambassador told CNN. "What is not understandable is the exception for the UK and the lack of national measures [domestically].”

The Trump administration notified ambassadors after the announcement: Several European ambassadors expressed a need for clarity as they worked to digest what these new measures mean. They had received calls from the State Department after the announcement -- but they "have not yet answers to our questions,” said one ambassador.

State Department officials say they didn’t know precisely what Trump was going to roll out, given the fact that multiple options were on the table. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the Australian Foreign Minister less than five hours before Trump’s address -- and gave no indication of the announcement coming tonight, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

Pompeo did acknowledge that things were going to continue to be painful, and increasingly so, for the next six weeks or so.

8:24 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Hubei, epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, reports its lowest number of new cases in months

From CNN’s Shanshan Wang in Beijing

Workers in protective suits clean up a makeshift hospital converted from a sports venue after it officially closed in Wuhan on March 8.
Workers in protective suits clean up a makeshift hospital converted from a sports venue after it officially closed in Wuhan on March 8. Xiao Yijiu/Xinhua via AP

Mainland China reported 15 new coronavirus cases yesterday -- continuing the week-long trend of dramatically falling numbers, according to China's National Health Commission.

Six of those cases were imported from overseas -- meaning they weren't locally transmitted in China.

Hubei province, where the coronavirus pandemic began back in December, reported eight new cases -- the lowest to be reported from Hubei since the outbreak began.

The drop in new daily cases is especially striking given that just a month or two ago, the country was reporting around 2,000 new cases per day.

China has now reported 80,793 cases and 3,169 deaths. Of the total cases, 62,793 have recovered and been discharged from hospital, according to the NHC. 

8:24 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Trump misrepresents Europe travel ban during primetime address, causing confusion

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

In a primetime address to millions of Americans, President Trump misrepresented the travel restrictions he is imposing on travel between the United States and Europe.

Trump said "we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days" before adding that there will be "exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings."

Those exemptions are far more extensive than the President made them out to be. They apply to all US legal permanent residents, citizens and some of their family members, according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security. 

The travel restrictions Trump is enacting are in fact far more similar to those enacted on China.

The ban also does not apply to all of Europe but to nations in the Schengen zone. That includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. 

What this means: Americans and US permanent residents who are in Europe will still be allowed to fly to Europe and be allowed back into the United States during this 30-day period. 

They will simply be screened upon entry to the United States and face quarantine or restrictions on their movement in the US for 14 days. 

However, it is not clear whether airlines will still fly the routes if passenger demand from European nationals dries up because of the ban. 

Trump also appeared to correct himself on a ban on cargo. In his speech he said, "There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. " 

A few minutes ago, the President tweeted, "...please remember, very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods." 

This is not to say the President is not taking an extremely severe step, but it is not the all-encompassing suspension on travel between the United States and Europe that the President portrayed.

8:24 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Trump cancels trips to Colorado and Nevada due to the coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Betsy Klein 

President Trump will no longer travel to Colorado and Nevada at the end of the week. 

“Out of an abundance of caution from the coronavirus outbreak, the President has decided to cancel his upcoming events in Colorado and Nevada,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. 
8:39 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

The NBA will suspend its entire regular season after tonight

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots as Denver Nuggets forwards Michael Porter Jr. (1) and Jerami Grant (9) defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 11 in Dallas.
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots as Denver Nuggets forwards Michael Porter Jr. (1) and Jerami Grant (9) defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 11 in Dallas. AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

The NBA has announced that the season is being suspended after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read the NBA's full statement:

The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, tonight’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.
The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sports world hit by virus: This is the latest -- and largest -- cancellation of a sporting event yet. Other sports events have also been affected by coronavirus; NCAA basketball announced that March Madness would be played to an empty stadium with no fans, soccer matches in Europe have been postponed or played behind closed doors, and there are calls to cancel the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, despite organizers' insistence that the Games will go ahead.

9:43 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

Actor Tom Hanks diagnosed with coronavirus

From CNN's Sandra Gonzalez

Actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actress Rita Wilson
Actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actress Rita Wilson Amy Sussman/Getty Images/FILE

Actor Tom Hanks says he and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, have been diagnosed with coronavirus. 

In a statement posted to Instagram, Hanks said the two were traveling in Australia when they were tested. 

"Well, now. What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?" Hanks wrote. 

A representative for actor Tom Hanks told CNN the statement posted on Hanks’ Instagram account on Wednesday is "correct."

Hanks shared the following image and message on Instagram:

8:23 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Trump will suspend all US travel from Europe for next 30 days

President Donald Trump speaks in an address to the nation from the Oval Office at the White House about the coronavirus Wednesday, March, 11, in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks in an address to the nation from the Oval Office at the White House about the coronavirus Wednesday, March, 11, in Washington. Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool

President Trump announced tonight that all travel from Europe to the United States will be suspended for the next 30 days, except for the UK.

Trump made the decision in order to "keep new cases from entering our shores."

"We will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight. These restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground," the President said from the Oval Office.

Trump said there will be exemptions made for certain Americans "who have undergone appropriate screenings."

"These prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom," Trump added.

8:23 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

El Salvador imposes mandatory 21-day quarantine and denies entry to all foreigners

From CNN’s Merlin Delcid in San Salvador

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele announced a nationwide 21-day mandatory quarantine in a televised address to the nation late Wednesday. 

Bukele explained all school activities at all levels are now suspended and any gatherings of more than 500 people will be prohibited. 

The 21 days of quarantine will not impact trade and “all people should continue to go to work as usual,” Bukele said.

All diplomats, Guatemalans with valid passports and Salvadoran residents will be allowed into the country as long as they undergo the mandatory isolation, according to the president. 

Currently, El Salvador does not have any confirmed cases of novel coronavirus.

8:38 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

US official says China's response to coronavirus cost the world "two months to respond"

From CNN's Vivian Salama and Mike Conte

Robert O’Brien, President Trump’s national security adviser, speaking at the Heritage Foundation.
Robert O’Brien, President Trump’s national security adviser, speaking at the Heritage Foundation. CNN

Robert O’Brien, President Trump’s national security adviser, blasted the Chinese government for their response to the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, saying they “covered up” the outbreak and “probably” cost the world “two months to respond.”

“There’s lots of open source reporting from China, from Chinese nationals that the doctors involved were either silenced or, or put in isolation or that sort of thing so word of this virus could not get out,” O’Brien told a crowd at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

“If we had those and been able to sequence the virus and had the cooperation necessary from the Chinese, had a WHO team been on the ground, had a CDC team which we’d offered been on the ground, I think we could’ve dramatically curtailed what happened both in China and what’s now happening across the world,” he continued.

O’Brien also urged Americans to heed the warnings of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and take precautions to prevent further spread of coronavirus.

“If you’ve got a coworker who sneezes, send them home,” he said, adding that people should practice social distancing, wash their hands routinely, and take other protective measures. 

O’Brien, whose speech notably drew a smaller-than-usual crowd amid fears of crowded places, described the President’s response to the outbreak in the US as “courageous,” particularly for his decision to temporarily freeze air travel to highly affected areas. 

The coronavirus has currently spread to six continents, roiled financial and oil markets and led to the cancellation of events, classes and other gatherings across the country.